Nigerians amaze President Goodluck Jonathan. They quickly accuse his administration of not delivering on his election promises. Where this does not stick, they think he is slow, so slow in addressing the country’s challenges.
The President admits he is slow. Unknown to Nigerians, he dictated his pace before he commenced his tenure in May 2011. Then he had said he needed more time – to know his Ministers (two years), to throw out those who were not performing, probably another two years to study the replacements, then programmes implementation.
He had suggested seven years as ideal for him to fulfill his election promises. The President never promised speed. He made promises during the campaigns. Who remembers them? Who does not know that campaign talks are just promises? The President does not expect anyone to hold him accountable for them.
If an explanation is needed, he had a good excuse. He does not want to make hasty decisions. He wants to be sure he makes no mistakes. His logic is simply – instead of making mistakes, do nothing. With this as the foundation of the President’s policies, it is easier to understand his pace, rather his lack of pace.
The President used a Christmas service to explain to a congregation that his decisions must stand the test of time. "By human thinking, our administration is slow, I won't say we are slow but we need to think through things properly if we are to make lasting impact. If we rush we will make mistakes and sometimes it is more difficult to correct those mistakes," he said.
We had thought security issues distracted the President. We speculated that resources were low to match the challenges. At other times, we guessed the President needed better hands on the job. The President waved these aside, in the presence of God, and affirmed that his speed was deliberate. Nigerians have to apologise to the President, we are mere mortals, hence our "human thinking".
Many Nigerians thought that with months to the mid-term of his tenure, foundations for fulfilling his fanciful 91 election promises, among them an airport in States without one, should have been laid. It must be admitted the President tied his promises to a four-year frame. Are Nigerians the ones to dictate a pace for their President?
His fundamental point is the dilemma of reforming Nigerians – to stop them from vandalising infrastructure – before implementing the transformation agenda. The President reckons it is better to reform the people before transforming the country. He must think it through! As he mulls the difference between "reforming" and "transforming" Nigerians, 2013 would be another mistake-free year, the better year the President promised.